At Tuesday’s Mono County Board of Supervisors meeting, Ralph Lockhart of June’s Double Eagle Resort and Spa pitched the formation of a June Lake TBID to the Board.
It’s in the “proposal and formulation stage,” Lockhart told The Sheet Wednesday. Why does June Lake need a TBID? “To achieve for June Lake the same thing that all of the businesses in Mammoth Lakes are enjoying with Mammoth Lakes Tourism,” said Lockhart.
To recap, TBID works like this.
Local businesses – in this case, those in June – gather to vote and agree on a percentage assessment. Usually around 1%. Typically, assessments are applied to just lodging. But, that’s not always the case. Mammoth’s TBID assesses lodging, restaurants, retail, and the ski area. In these early stages, the TBID assessments are a Build Your Own Adventure for whichever businesses agree to be assessed. Could just be lodging. Could be lodging and restaurants.
The money made from the assessment goes into a pile, typically handled by whatever organization is designated to spend it (e.g. Mammoth Lakes Tourism). The money can only be spent on what was agreed upon at the TBID’s onset.
“Stocking fish, or trash cleanup, or additional advertising, or supplies and promotions for events that you’d like to hold and grown in your community to make the place more interesting,” said Lockhart.
“We’ve been talking about this for a while with both local businesses and with the June Lake Chamber of Commerce,” said Lockhart. Essentially, he made Tuesday’s presentation to the Board on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, he explained.
At the meeting, the Chamber requested that the County fund the consultation fee with Civitas Partners for the development and implementation of the potential TBID.
From the County, to seed June Lake’s potential TBID.
Supervisor Jennifer Kreitz was the only “No” vote.
During a phone call the following day, Kreitz explained her opposition.
First, Mono County already benefits from the Mammoth TBID. The renewal of which was not fully supported by the Mammoth community.
Second, Kreitz said that the County has been discussing increasing the bed tax, or Transient Occupancy Tax, since she came on board. An increase in County TOT would bring in funds for the County to spend on an array of public projects. Kreitz worries that a June Lake TBID assessment might create a barrier to increasing that TOT later on down the road. As in, the assessment people would pay for TBID, combined with the assessment they’d pay with an increased TOT, would be too much of a burden. And the TOT increase wouldn’t get passed.
Third, adding a TBID affects pretty much every patron in the area, including residents if the assessment is levied on businesses like restaurants and retail. But, it’s not something that those residents get to vote on.
Taxation without representation.
Kreitz supports the raising of funds by the June Lake business community to pay the $47,000 fee. But, she’s wary of using county funds to fund something that doesn’t necessarily benefit the whole county and is not voted on by the residents of the county.
During the meeting, Supervisor Peters commented, “We are a tourism-based economy and we need to continue to market tourism.” He supported figuring out a way the county could fund the $47,000 TBID exploration.
Supervisor Salcido was “extremely supportive” in proceeding with the project. “I applaud June Lake for being proactive in this,” she said.
The Supervisors voted to further pursue how the County could support the June Lake Chamber of Commerce in providing funds for the consulting fee.
Justin Walsh of June Lake Brewing (JLB) described any additional marketing “frivolous” if it came before infrastructure improvements to June. Specifically, municipal parking.
“We don’t have enough parking spots for more people,” he said. For the past couple weeks on Fridays and Saturdays, every single one of his 43 JLB parking spots are full. People park in the road, in front of yards and driveways. He advises against it. Above and beyond any marketing efforts, he said, he wants parking. More parking would facilitate more business, he explained.
Walsh said he had not heard about the potential TBID, nor the Chamber’s proposal to the County.
“I feel that businesses are adequate at marketing [in June],” said Walsh – before marketing, let there be infrastructure.